NOAA: 260 dolphins dead on Gulf Coast, triple usual number

Authorities say more than 260 dolphins have stranded across the U.S. Gulf Coast since Feb. 1, triple the usual number

NEW ORLEANS -- Authorities say more than 260 dolphins have stranded across the U.S. Gulf Coast since Feb. 1, triple the usual number.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say it's too early to know the cause but they're investigating whether salinity changes from high rivers and a Louisiana spillway opening contributed to the deaths.

NOAA says on its website that a number of the dolphins stranded from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle had open sores consistent with freshwater exposure, but such sores are "not uncommon" in the spring.

A Mississippi scientist says the spillway opening is at least partly to blame for 126 deaths across Mississippi's coastline. Moby Solangi calls it worse than the BP oil spill in 2010, when 91 dead dolphins were found in Mississippi during the entire year.